I can't recall ever seeing such a negative overreaction before to anything like I am currently witnessing. Miami Dolphins fans are up in arms over the news that the Dolphins will hire former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their new offensive coordinator - replacing the much maligned Dan Henning.
Fans on this site and other Dolphins blogs and message boards are acting as if this move is the end of the world. Worse yet, it's not just the fans overreacting - it's the other people who run these Miami Dolphin sites. I'm talking about people I very much respect for their knowledge of this team and this sport whining over Daboll's hiring like a bunch of babies.
Here's my message to all of you overreacting to the news that Daboll will become the team's offensive coordinator (once the contract is finalized, of course): either grow the hell up and give the man a chance or go find a new team to root for. Period.
I'm well aware of what the stats say. I know Cleveland's offense under Brian Daboll wasn't very good - ranking 29th in the league in yards per game. I'm aware that the Browns were one of only two teams to score fewer points than the Dolphins last year. But doesn't anyone realize that Cleveland actually has less talent than the Dolphins do offensively?
I'm actually slightly impressed by the fact that Daboll's offense in Cleveland last season averaged 5 yards per play - the same as the Dolphins. In fact, the Browns only scored two points fewer than the Dolphins last year over the entire season (273 to 271) and actually scored more offensive touchdowns (26 to 25) than Miami. And this is despite the fact that the team used three different quarterbacks, including a rookie for most of the season, and didn't have a receiver top 500 yards receiving.
Trivia question: can anybody name Cleveland's top wide receiver?
I know people probably don't want to hear endorsements of Daboll from guys like Brady Quinn or Chad Pennington - though Pennington's thoughts should carry some weight all things considered. But here's what I do know - people around the league consider Daboll an up and coming offensive mind and believe his greatest strength is developing a quarterback. And you have to be a bright guy to advance up the Bill Belichick coaching tree as quickly as Daboll has.
The biggest misconception many seem to have is that hiring Brian Daboll means more of the same offensively. They look at just his raw numbers and don't see how he could possibly offer anything different to this team. But that's just it - Daboll does bring a new offensive philosophy to the table.
On NFL Network yesterday, Michael Lombardi said that Daboll actually wants to use elements of the spread offense in Miami - which makes a lot sense. The man spent years in New England as the receivers coach along side guys like Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels. In Cleveland, though, that kind of offense really wasn't possible because of the personnel he had to deal with.
But here's your proof that this Dolphins offense is going to look different in 2011 under Brian Daboll than it has the past three years with Dan Henning running the unit. Last season, the Dolphins used four wide receivers on only 20% of their quarterbacks' drop-backs. The Browns, meanwhile, used four receiver sets on 41% of their quarterbacks' drop-backs.
This is despite having receivers like Chansi Stuckey, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Brian Robiskie to work with. Just imagine what those spread formations Daboll wants to run could look like with the addition of a speed receiver to go with Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline.
Fans clamored all season that Henning was too conservative. They complained about hardly ever going with four receivers and spreading the field. Well all of you are now getting exactly what you want - a guy running the offense who used four receiver sets on over 40% of their passing plays. This is a good thing, people. A good thing.
Of course, we do now have to consider the possible addition of a quarterback or two who have experience playing in a spread-like offense - from a veteran guy like Kyle Orton to potential draft picks like Blaine Gabbert.
If anything, Dolphins fans should actually be slightly excited over this hiring. Bringing aboard somebody who is fascinating by the basic principles of the spread offense and who wants to incorporate some of these things into Miami's offense should actually give us all hope that things are changing for the better down in South Florida.
I'm on board with this hiring. I think it has a chance to dynamically change Miami's offense. The next step, of course, is finding the right personnel to fill in the missing pieces. For now, though, this hiring has done to me what it should be doing to all of you: it's reinvigorated me for some Dolphins football.